Social Responsibility. The industry is readily adopting the notion of some type of CSR project during a conference or event. This is definitely the first step toward social advocacy for meetings. Its popularity can be linked directly to the “look good, feel good, team-building” opportunities it presents. These projects can take place before, during or after your meeting and include anything from planting trees to working at a food bank to raising money for a nonprofit organization.
It is important to link your legacy project to something meaningful either for the organization or for participants. One of my favorite events was having a conference of computer engineers volunteer to write programs for school children in a low-income school district while the students looked on.
Local, Sustainable Food. Everyone wants to eat better. Guests are asking for healthier, fresher food, driving this aspect for conferences and events. Participants are no longer satisfied with anything less, even when on the road. Collaborating with the chef to source from local growers and sustainable suppliers ensures that will happen. Make sure you also inform participants where the food comes from with cards on the menu or buffet line. If it is organic, tell them so. You are educating them and looking good all at the same time.